If the village idiot asked you to smell his finger, would you?
More on that in a moment…
Right now, let’s talk about the epidemic of tommy john surgeries and elbow injuries.
Before we begin, I want you to know, I’m not an expert, nor a doctor…
In fact, it took me 6 freakin’ years to graduate from college, at a state school in KY.
So, all these scientific based principles are way over my head, that’s why I created Baseball Think Tank.
In fact, I’m a belief based pitching coach, it’s true!
I believe that every pitcher is different..
I also believe that many of the reason pitchers are getting hurt is caused by the culture of pitching lessons, video analysis and mechanical models. (Plus a whole lot more!)
Either way, its a serious problem and unfortunately, the Beauty Pageant Judges and Swiss Army Knives are crawling out of the wood work with their solutions and scientific based cherry picking.
So, today I’m going to share with you, a story my grandfather passed down to me.
Maybe it will shed some light on the elbow injury epedimic…
My story begins with the adventures of two young boys, blessed with golden arms and…
This is the legend of two young boys who lived thousands of years ago, there names were Muffin and Pound Cake. The two relied on mere rocks, to hunt game and provide food for their family.
Muffin lived on a continent surrounded by water, and the landscape was hilly; big game was hard to find.
Two continents away, lived his first cousin Pound Cake, and luckily for both, there was no internet connection and family reunions were difficult to attend.
Pound Cakes world featured wide open plains and savannahs, he hunted much larger game than cousin Muffin.
Each morning, the boys would head out to gather food with a handful of rocks, and make no mistake they were providers.
In fact, you would never find either attending single’s night at the club, there was no need, because each had his pick of the litter. (More on that in a later post…)
Because Muffin primarily hunted water fowl, he quickly realized that skipping rocks, was the most efficient way to hit and kill his dinner for the night.
As he ventured into the thick brush, the skill acquired from skipping rocks played well for Muffin.
But on the other side of the world, the game was totally different for ole’ Pound Cake (Dukes of Hazard voice).
Pound Cake, was hunting much larger game than Muffin and he was the guy nobody wanted to throw with, if that ever happened back then.
However, he didn’t encounter the constraints of trees, and water was hard to find. So, Pound Cake could let it fly with his inverted w!
Due to each possessing a different intent, and living in two totally different environments, something strange evolved!
Something that would have the Beauty Pageant Judges and Swiss Army Knives (3 in 1 pitching experts), demanding they change, or they would never hunt again.
But, luckily for both, neither experienced the side effects of video analysis. They simply relied on:
They were lucky and it amazes me that they were able to accomplish this and put food on the table without:
And, there were no “rock throwing coaches”, only a village idiot who had a habit of asking others to smell his finger.
The moral of the story?
What if the village idiot suddenly took over the pitching duties?
“Hit your target, but do it as I tell you, don’t worry about the goal… focus on how you look, while attempting to achieve the goal!” the village idiot yelled.
How does this “true” story relate to the epidemic of arm injuries?
Here some things you need to consider before attempting to make mechanical changes:
Think: Whenever you go to the weight room and change up your routine, however minor, do you experience soreness that’s not typical?
The Negative Cycle That Keeps Pitchers Coming Back For More Lessons:
A. The pitcher receives a video review, is compared to an entirely different nervous system, sorry pitcher.
B. The pitcher instructor points out all the flaws, and the pitcher goes to work trying to achieve proper mechanics.
C. He comes back, it looks better, he’s tries his best to imitate what’s seen on the screen, but the velocity is not there…
D. Or… the pitcher comes back over and over again, but can’t change his mechanics, but why?
Because too often, pitching coaches focus on the form (What we see and mistake as pitching mechanics), when in reality , the pitcher is suffering from movement constraints.
Think: Movement deficiencies can often be mis-diagnosed as poor mechanics, so you hire a pitching coach versus addressing your movement deficiencies, which only increases your risk for injury!
So, what happens is this: The pitching coach treats the symptom, not the cause! Over and over again, therefore, the pitcher is compounding the issue over and over again. Thanks video analysis!
Scientific principles of the story (sort of):
I’m going to conclude part 1 of this article with this…
Bonus: The story of Wil Browning
Back when I was coaching college baseball, I had pitcher named Wil Browning. Wil was a side-arm pitcher and a very good one, in fact, you can see his stats in pro ball here.
Wil was worried he wouldn’t be drafted due to his velocity. Therefore, he asked if he could begin throwing over the top, to increase his velocity and his chances.
I was hesitant at first, but being the village idiot, I gave him my blessing. Low and behold, his velocity immediately spiked. He went from 84-87 to 89-92 with a minor (WRONG) change.
That week, he went out and threw a gem against South Alabama, and everyone was happy. The next morning, I get a knock on the hotel door and guess what? Wil”s elbow was black and blue, he was out for the year with Tommy John surgery.
Why did this happen?
My final thoughts, Wil’s body wasn’t prepared for the demands of the activity (SAID Principle). It was shocked, the soft tissue encountered a communication barrier, the nervous system was in disarray and the smaller muscle groups weren’t prepared, nor was the rest of the body.
Here’s what you can expect in the next few posts detailing the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries…
Before you leave, do me a favor:
Check out my summer programs, because I’m releasing a new product that doesn’t require changes to your mechanics, it let’s Peer Pressure do it for you!